“Remember that healthy individuals, when they wake up each morning, their bar is way up here,” my doctor holds one arm up at forehead level and her other arm at waist level to demonstrate meaning. “As the day progresses, their energy level naturally decreases”, she lowers her arm in illustration. “You, on the other hand, start each day below the bar, somewhere down here.” She moves the raised arm to pelvic level and then lower. “Without restorative sleep, you are constantly running on a deficit.”
“Yeah, yeah!” I nod. She’s been telling me this for two years, so why is it so hard for me to grasp the concept?
I’ve come to the doctor today to talk about my declining cognitive functioning. While I do have more energy than last year at this time (can be out of bed for two hours without symptoms, as opposed to one a year ago) I find that my mental capacity is far worse.
“Go back to the beginning, and start to log your activities again,” she advises. “Look for the patterns that may be causing this symptom.”
I don’t have to go back. I already know. The demands of living with this chronic condition are counterintuitive to my natural instincts. I am wired to be a doer, and cannot bear to be unproductive. It is a daily battle for constraint, ensuring that I don’t over exert myself thereby causing a crash. It is one thing to limit physical activity, and quite another to try to control the mind or emotions.
Delighted to have a tad more energy, I am motivated to use it to the fullest, setting goals, starting projects, anything that will make me feel normal again.
I have vowed to post more often, am working on solutions to the healthy eating conundrum, in other words, using a lot of mental energy. So my mind is pushing back.
It’s that simple and yet that complicated.
“When I want to do something,” my husband tries to explain, “I can approach it at a slower pace, MacGyver a thing or two, and get it done. For you, it’s a matter of can’t.”
Has anybody else read Dr. Christiane Northrup? She says there is no such thing as can’t, only won’t. Unwillingness is the first step to failure in my mind, so how can I convince myself that “can’t” is an option for me?
I was not born to be a vegetable, even though my nickname is Veg (pronounced vee-j). I have too much that I want to do and accomplish. It is not enough for me to merely exist, or even survive: I want to thrive.
For now, I need to rest for awhile. Just writing this has exhausted me.